Defeating the GiantDate posted: November 4, 2014
For generations, communities and families and individuals have been told it isn’t possible. They’ve been told they aren’t good enough. They aren’t capable enough. They aren’t worthy of the resources required. Education won’t change their circumstances. Their futures won’t change. They can’t be changed.
As this message has been passed down through generations, the belief in its words has compounded and fewer and fewer even realize there’s another possibility. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is returned with blank stares. Occasionally, someone accepts the challenge and succeeds to break through the lies…but only occasionally.
“A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels…Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.”
– 1 Samuel 17:4-7, 10-11
There’s a massive giant facing our children and their families. On the surface, we see children going to work in the fields. We see children failing in school. We see parents encouraging their children to quit.
“Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.”
– 1 Samuel 17:24
Our families know that there is the possibility of a stronger future through education. Parents want their child to be the one to break out of the cycle. Our staff spends a lot of time educating parents and children on why school attendance is so necessary. There are many good reasons to defeat the giant.
“Now the Israelites had been saying, ‘Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.'” – 1 Samuel 17:25
There’s fear, though. There’s a deep belief that it isn’t possible. We don’t have the right resources. We don’t have enough time. We’ve started too late. We need better teachers and tutors. There are more urgent matters to focus on. We’ve tried before and it hasn’t worked.
We have decided it’s time to defeat the giant, though. He continues to taunt us and tell us our children will never become something of value. He says basic skills are enough. We know God has more planned for these children, though. He has created each of them in His image. He has a unique purpose for every one of them and we will not let the giant defeat them.
“David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him…Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” – 1 Samuel 17:32-34
This year, we are making a special effort to defeat the giant of illiteracy with our children. We evaluated every child in September to understand their current level and then placed them into tutoring groups accordingly, regardless of age. For the few children who are at grade level, their tutoring will focus on specific subject matter instead of literacy.
“As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron.” – 1 Samuel 17:48-50,51b-52
In just two short months of this focus, our staff has seen an improvement in the children’s literacy. Even more importantly, though, there is a renewed excitement, passion, and belief that together we can defeat the giant and claim the victory.